Sigmund Freud (Richard Newman) and C.S. Lewis (Damon Calderwood) discuss God, sex, love, morality, and the meaning of life in Ace Productions’ Freuds Last Session, playing at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Thursday, May 18. (Photo submitted)

Freud slips into Vernon

Psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, known for his theory of psychoanalysis, is coming to town

Scholar and psychiatrist Sigmund Freud, best known for his development of the theory of psychoanalysis and his arguably unorthodox theories of sexuality and ego, is coming to Vernon.

Freud is joined by renowned British novelist C.S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) in Freud’s Last Session, Thursday, May 18 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre for the final performance in the Performing Arts Centre Society’s 2016-17 theatre series.

“It’s very topically important,” said actor Damon Calderwood, who portrays Lewis in the performance. “It plays on the eve of Britain declaring war on Germany.”

And, given the current political state in America, where some are fearing the direction of United States President Donald Trump, the play is now more relevant than ever, said Calderwood.

“I attribute that in part to the writer (Mark St. Germain), who wrote it a few years ago,” he said.

Calderwood had originally seen Freud’s Last Session during its original run on Broadway, and soon after tried to bring it back to B.C.

After approaching a few theatres, the play was picked up by Ace Productions and Couch Trip Collective productions, and Calderwood was eager to begin.

“I had just met Newman (Richard Newman), and I said, ‘gosh, he looks like Freud already’.”

After meeting Newman and getting the producers on board, everything started to fall into place.

“It kind of came about somewhat organically,” said Calderwood.

As a fan of Lewis’s work, Calderwood is excited to have the chance to perform as one of his favourite authors.

“I’m a big fan of him ever since I was about six,” he said. ” By the time I was eight, I had read all of the Chronicles of Narnia.”

And it’s a character Calderwood can relate to.

“As a Christian, I can understand his perspectives as well. He’s quite funny. He was a deep thinker, and he was always very good about coming up with an answer for a problem. Lewis uses the world around him to infer a lot about the mind of God. I really enjoy that aspect about him.”

The play begins as a philosophical debate between Freud and Lewis, who address the question of God’s existence. Having recently escaped to London from Nazi-occupied Austria, Freud discovers he is dying of cancer and summons Lewis, the late convert to Christianity, to discover why the former atheist would turn to religion.

Questions of God, love, sex, morality, evil, and the meaning of life are topics of debate for the fictitious meeting between two of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century. Despite their clash of beliefs, the imminent threat of war leads the men to startling revelations about themselves and their common ground.

While the performance revolves around deep, intellectual debate, it isn’t devoid of lighthearted moments as well.

“I think they can expect it to be a little more funny than they think,” said Calderwood. “There might be a little bit of something for everyone.

“I hope people will take a chance and come see this play. I don’t think they’ll regret it.”

Ace Productions presents a Couch Trip Collective production of Freud’s Last Session by Mark St. Germain at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Thursday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $27 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $22 for students from the Ticket Seller, visit www.ticketseller.ca or call 250-549-7469.

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